2010 NFL Season Preview: Oakland Raiders 53-Man Roster Predictions

Carl CockerhamSenior Analyst IAugust 28, 2010

2010 NFL Season Preview: Oakland Raiders 53-Man Roster Predictions

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    CHICAGO - AUGUST 21: Head coach Tom Cable of the Oakland Raiders watches as his team takes on the Chicago Bears during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 21, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Raiders defeated the Bears 32-17. (Photo by Jonathan Dani
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Tom Cable has much to think about these days.

    The Raiders broke camp last week and are heading into the preseason finale on Thursday. This means that the time has coming to trim his roster down to 53 men.

    A little over a month ago, I made a prediction of who would make the roster. I have now had the chance to see the team play a few games and things have naturally changed.

    Turn the page to see my new predictions.

Quarterbacks

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    Prediction:

    1 Jason Campbell 2 Bruce Gradkowski 3 Kyle Boller

    Campbell has shown Raider Nation is that guy who can take Raider Nation where it's trying to go. All he needs is protection and he is sure to get the  job done.

     Gradkowski and Boller have quite a battle going for the back-up spot.

    Do you like Boller's camp and preseason or Gradkowski's one game this along with last year.

Running Backs

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    Tailbacks: 1 Darren McFadden 1A Michael Bush 2 Michael Bennett 

    You will see a lot of production out of this group int 2010 season.

    McFadden's skill set will be put to full use by Hue Jackson in 2010 as a receiver and outside runner. Ray Rice had 70 catches in the same system last year and McFadden's skill set is better in that area.

    Bush will be the one that hits it up into the middle of opposing defenses. I was originally critical of Bush for not using his size to punishing defenses but what a difference an off-season makes.

    Fullbacks: 1 Marcell Reece 2 Manase Tonga

    The word for this group is versatility

    They both can catch the ball and Reece improved mightily as a blocker since coming to Raider Nation. He will be the starter of the two because he is more explosive as well. 

Receivers

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    1 Chaz Schillens 2 Louis Murphy 3 Darrius Heyward-Bey 4 Nick Miller 5 Jacoby Ford                         6 Johnny Lee Higgins 

    I expect Louis Murphy to be the Raiders number one receiver while Schilens is heeling. Darrius Heyward-Bey is improving but Murphy runs better routes which gets him open more consistently.

    I also happen to think Murphy has better game speed than Heyward-Bey as well. It's going to be very interesting to see what defenses do to stop our big three deep and Zach Miller and McFadden underneath.

    I'm looking forward to seeing what Nick Miller can do against the opposing ones.

    The Raiders are too.

    I believe that's why the Raiders aren't doing much with him this preseason. They want to keep him healthy because they saw what he can do against back-ups last year before getting injured.

    Miller will probably return punts for the Raiders as well.

    Jacoby Ford will see his share of go routes this year but he was mainly brought in for kick returning duties.

    I believe the injury to Schilens bought Higgins more time in Raider Nation.

    He has some catches this preseason but he also has drops. Has been constantly yelled at by Hue Jackson for lining up wrong and running the wrong route.

    To be continued.....

Tight Ends

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    1 Zach Miller 2 Brandon Myers 3 Eric Butler

    This one just got interesting.

    I originally picked Stewart to make the team as the blocking tight end but he was cut a few days ago. We already know Miller is the alpha here with Myer being back-up.

    I'm going to pick Eric Butler over John Owens as a wild guess and because of his size.

    Neither has done anything special.

Offensive Line

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    The ones: T Mario Henderson G Robert Gallery C Jared Veldheer G Bruce Campbell T Langtson Walker

    The twos: T Jared Veldheer G Daniel Loper C Samson Satele  G Cooper Carlisle T Khalif Barnes

    Veldheer was a little confused at times Saturday but did well for his first start at center. The key is that he did better than Samson Satele has been doing.

    I can hardly understand the love Cable has for Satele.

    Campbell has been quietly doing well at guard this preseason and I expect him to take Carlisle's spot at some point. Cable has loyalty to Carlisle for helping him become Head Coach so he will get another year of game checks.

    In camp, Hue Jackson once said, "We want to be bullies on offense!" The Raiders will have some bully power up front when Campbell enters the line-up.

    There's one problem.

    Who's gonna protect Campbell's blind side?

    Do you trust Henderson?

Defensive Line

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    Ones: DE Lamarr Houston DT Tommy Kelly DT Richard Seymour DE Matt Shaughnessy

    Twos: DE Chris Cooper DT John Henderson DT Desmond Bryant DE Trevor Scott

    In the preseason, this unit has more sacks per first half so far than the other teams have per entire game. The defenses have obviously been pretty vanilla throughout the preseason too.

    Seymour is going to have an awesome 2010 has he settles into his new three technique defensive tackle position. Tommy Kelly has slimmed down but beefed up his performance.

    Youngsters Shaughnessy and Houston seem unblockable so far. Retread Chris Cooper appears to be on a mission this year and it looks like Jay Richardson could end up out of Raider Nation.

    The Raiders have so many DE/OLB hybrids that it's hard to tell how many defensive ends they will keep. Richard Seymour is a tackle now that can easily still play the defensive end position.

    I expect Kellen Heard to make the practice squad as a project.

    This unit will be dominant this year.

Linebackers

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    Ones: Strong-side Trevor Scott Middle Rolando McClain Weak-side Trevor Scott

    Twos: Strong-side Thomas Howard Middle Ricky Brown Weak-side Quentin Groves

    Reserves: Travis Goethel Sam Williams Jon Condo

    This looks like a dynamic group.

    McClain has All-World potential on the inside with his run defense, coverage, and blitz ability from the middle. Wimbley was known for his pass-rush previously but has developed the trifecti himself.

    Scott isn't much in coverage but he's stout against the run and will put mad heat on your quarterback.

    Thomas Howard will be a pass-coverage specialists and it looks like Groves is another elephant. Ricky Brown is a solid, versatile linebacker and Travis Goethel just has to be kept around.

    Condo is a Pro Bowl long-snaper and Williams will be a special teams player.

    This group will be heard from sooner than later.

Secondary

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    Safety ones: Free Michael Mitchell Strong Tyvon Branch

    Twos: Free Michael Huff Strong Jerome Boyd

    Corner: 1 Nnamdi Asomugha 2 Stanford Routt 3 Chris Johnson 4 Walter McFadden 5 Jeremy Ware

    The Raider secondary will be great against the pass.

    The football world over knows who Asomugha is.

    The corners on the other side have tremendously improved.

    Routt has looked very Nnamdi like lately and could take over for the also improved but injured Johnson. Walter McFadden and Jeremy where look like solid rookie corners as well.

    Free safety Michael Huff needs to be moved to corner because he is not a good last line of defense. He was known going into college for shying away from contact and nothing has changed in that regard.

    Bill Parcells once said, "If they don't bite when they're puppies, the chances are they never will.

    So it's time for Mike Mitchell to take over because Huff only has four career interceptions. That is not enough to make up for pulling an ole when a running back is going his way.

    Both Stevie Brown and Jerome Boyd look like they can plug in at free and strong safety respectively.

    Does this make Johnson and Huff expendable?

    Free safety Hiram Eugene is done!

Kickers

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    CANTON, OH - AUGUST 6: Place kicker Sebastian Janikowski #11 of the Oakland Raiders is congratulated by holder Shane Lechler #9 after Janikowskit kicked a 51-yard field goal in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles in the AFC-NFC Pro Football
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Kicker Sebastian Janikowski and punter Shane Lechler can kick a football out of the stadium. 2010 will be a great year for both of these men.

    Lechler is a perennial Pro Bowler and Janikowsi is coming off a year where the three misses he had were from outside of 50 yards. One of those misses was from 70 yards.

    They should complete a Pro Bowl sweep along with Condo.

Returners

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    CHICAGO - AUGUST 21: Jacoby Ford #12 of the Oakland Raiders is hit by Kevin Malast #52 of the Chicago Bears during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 21, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Raiders defeated the Bears 32-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/G
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Field position is important and it wasn't good for the Raiders in 2009.

    Nick Miller showed me something as a punt returner in the preseason.

    World-Class sprinter Jacoby Ford will get his chance to show Raider Nation what he has.

    He was a great return man at Clemson last year.

    I hope you enjoyed the slide show.

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